Turner Contemporary partners with Rye Pottery

Posted in – News

Turner Contemporary is delighted to announce a partnership with Rye Pottery and to introduce a striking new design – Breakwater. Initially conceived by Wally Cole MBE and completed by the current creative director Josh Cole and illustrator Laura Gill, the Breakwater design is to be brought to life in a series of ceramic table lamps, utensil pots and vases and sold exclusively in the Turner Contemporary shop from 1 February 2024.

The collaboration will coincide with the launch of the Spring Exhibition – Beyond Form: Lines of Abstraction, 1950-1970, which opens at Turner Contemporary on 3 February 2024, and will focus on abstraction in a post-WWII period. The Mid-Century Modern aesthetic of the collection Rye Pottery shapes and the abstract style of the hand-painted design complement the exhibition perfectly. The surface decoration of the Breakwater collection takes its inspiration from the pebbled beaches and weathered wooden posts common to southern beaches.

Rye Pottery has a long history of producing sought-after ceramicware with a traditional approach to craftsmanship and design that is revered and respected worldwide. Initially established in the late 1700s, Rye Pottery has been run by the Cole family since 1947 producing unique hand-made tiles, homewares, and decorative accessories.

Currently run by siblings Josh and Tabby Cole, Rye Pottery is a classic heritage craft and artisanal business, fusing high art & design with expert and traditional craftsmanship. It is one of just a handful of production potteries worldwide that continues to produce everything by hand, using a 17th-century decorating technique known as Faience, Majolica or Delft. At their East Sussex workshops, each piece undergoes a minimum of twelve hand processes before reaching its finished state and at the heart of this process is the freehand brushwork of the skilled painting team.

The partnership with Rye Pottery will enrich Turner Contemporary’s offering and exemplifies the gallery’s commitment to supporting the vibrant community of craftspeople and the creative industries in the Southeast. It represents an opportunity to champion traditional craftsmanship and innovative design, furthering Turner Contemporary’s role in nurturing the rich cultural landscape of the region.

Clarrie Wallis, Director of Turner Contemporary, says: “Turner Contemporary is excited to partner with Rye Pottery on a new collection inspired by the 1950s and 60s – a golden era in the pottery’s history. This collaboration honours a significant period in the decorative arts and resonates beautifully with our ‘Beyond Form’ exhibition, which explores the emergence of post-war abstraction and its role in shaping a new period of creative expression.”

Tabby Cole, director of Rye Pottery, says: “We are really honoured to have been given the opportunity to bring this historically and personally significant design to life, having spent many years holding onto the design originally conceived by our grandfather. We’re excited to be introducing Turner Contemporary’s audience to Rye Pottery through the collection and are looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership with this incredibly significant cultural institution.”

About Rye Pottery

Established in the late 1700s, Rye Pottery, based in East Sussex, has been run by the Cole family since 1947 producing unique hand-made tiles, homewares & decorative accessories. Now run by the third generation of the Cole family, brother and sister Josh and Tabby.  

Their celebrated Mid-Century Modern collections, some of which were part of the Festival of Britain, are still much sought-after today, with past pieces held by the Ceramics Collections of the V&A and the British Museum’s Museum of the Home. Past Royal commissions include official souvenirs for St. Pauls Cathedral to mark the wedding of Charles and Diana. 

 Recent creative projects include a collection of Mid-Century Modern lamp-bases developed for Soho House, a project with award-winning London pub group Darwin & Wallace, a dinner service for celebrated English Vineyard Gusbourne, and tiles for a Grand Designs build. 

Visit Rye Pottery’s website to find out more.